§ 58. Mr. Turton
asked the Minister of Transport (1) what steps she is taking to improve public transport services in the more remote rural areas of the North Riding of Yorkshire, so as to enable the inhabitants to visit centres where a wider choice of social facilities is available;
§ (2) what steps she is taking to remit or relieve the burden of taxation in public 1061 transport services in remote rural areas to enable the inhabitants of villages and small towns to visit centres where a wider choice of social facilities is available.
§ Mr. Swingler
Proposals for helping rural transport, as stated in the White Paper on Transport policy, apply to Yorkshire as to other parts of the country. Rural bus operators also share in the taxation reliefs which have been given to the bus industry generally, including refund of lOd. of the fuel tax on stage services and full refund of Selective Employment Tax.
§ Mr. Turton
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that in my constituency in the last few weeks three rural bus services have had to give up? This is a matter which is really urgent. All the regional reports are recommending early action in order to stop the dispersal of the population from the rural areas into the towns. Will the Minister take early action, because this is very grave?
§ Mr. Swingler
We are concerned about this, especially in that a mini-bus operator found it impossible to cover his operating costs and decided to give up. This is a matter which should be considered urgently by the regional transport co-ordinating committee, and as the right hon. Gentleman will know, my right hon. Friend has promised legislation to provide for the rural bus grant, to which the Exchequer will contribute 50 per cent.